CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Tottenham’s dream ends at hands of Real Madrid

Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League run has come to an end with a 1-0 home loss to Real Madrid tonight.
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Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League run has come to an end with a 1-0 home loss to Real Madrid tonight.

Spurs went into the match with plenty of optimism despite trailing by four goals after the first leg in Spain last Tuesday but it wasn’t to be as they bowed out without scoring in the two-legged quarter-final tie, going down 5-0 on aggregate.

Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes made a disastrous error in the 50th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo’s shot was not held safely, the ball bobbling out of the Brazilian’s hands and rolling over the line to give the Portugal star his 40th of the season.

Spurs’ campaign, which has lit up and enhanced the competition, is now finished but it was a positive night at White Hart Lane with the event being more of a celebration for a successful run in Europe’s top competition.

On the other side of the coin, the undefeated Madrid soldier on and will now prepare themselves for a run of four meetings with Barcelona – two of those in the CL – over the next three weeks.

UEFA Champions League - quarter-final second leg
Tottenham Hotspur: 0
Real Madrid: 1 (Cristiano Ronaldo 50’)
* Real Madrid won 5-0 on aggregate

Venue: White Hart Lane, London
Crowd: 36,000
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli
Yellow cards: TOT - nil
REA - Ricardo Carvalho 39’, Esteban Granero 79’

There were calls for an early penalty when Gareth Bale went down on the edge of the area but Xabi Alonso did not make contact and referee Nicola Rizzoli waved the protests away as the Tottenham crowd lunged into full voice.

It was a very open beginning with the home side making all the running, as they had to with a four-goal deficit, as Bale started to provide plenty of problems for Sergio Ramos down the left but Xabi kept getting to the perfect area when tracking back to keep out the Welshman’s crosses.

Cristiano Ronaldo had his second sighter of the match in the 21st minute when he struck goalward with his left foot from outside the area as Madrid began to get forward which mainly came from getting on top from a possession viewpoint.

Roman Pavlyuchenko’s unmarked 27th minute attempt from an Aaron Lennon cross left a lot to be desired just moments before the Russian was felled in the area by Raul Albiol as he attempted to control another Bale delivery but again referee Rizzoli called play-on.

A little section of play from Madrid around the 37th minute almost brought about the opener when Mesut Ozil’s in-swinging corner caused some confusion with Michael Dawson heading clear before the ensuing corner from the other side saw Heurelho Gomes scramble to get his hand on a Ramos header which deflected off the Brazilian’s palm and onto the crossbar.

Moments later, the ball was in the back of the net down the other end when Luka Modric’s header from inside the area found Bale who volleyed home but the Croatian midfielder was called off-side from Pavlyuchenko’s initial pass. The replays showed the decision was correct.

Pavlyuchenko had a crack on goal in the dying moments of the first half but this left-footed strike from range was easily held by Iker Casillas in the last play of the of the opening 45 minutes.

GOAL In the 50th minute, Tottenham’s dream was surely shattered when Ronaldo hit a looping shot goalward which should have been held by Gomes but the Brazilian, who has been known to make some horror errors, somehow let it go through his grasp and into the back of the net for his sixth of the competition to make it 5-0 on aggregate to the Spaniards.

Spurs went close to getting one back when Rafael van der Vaart found Pavlyuchenko inside the box but his 58th minute header traveled over the crossbar with Casillas positioned well if it did happen to fall on target.

Substitute Jermain Defoe forced a top save out of Casillas with his first shot on goal in the 63rd minute with the Spain international diving fully to his right to keep out the England striker’s dangerous attempt from distance.

Madrid sub Kaka made an immediate impression with a neat through ball for Sami Khedira which almost brought about a goal before forcing Gomes into a diving save moments later as the sting came out of proceedings the more the minutes ticked over.

For all their shortcomings on the scoreboard, Spurs continued to throw themselves forward despite looking increasingly tired. Van der Vaart came fairly close in the 87th minute as the home fans kept up their loyal support but the match ended 1-0, sending Jose Mourinho and his Real Madrid into the final four for the first time in eight seasons.

Starting Line-Ups

Heurelho Gomes (gk) – Vedran Corluka, William Gallas, Michael Dawson, Benoit Assou-EkottoAaron Lennon (Defoe 61’), Luka Modric (Kranjcar 83’), Tom Huddlestone (Sandro 71’), Gareth BaleRafael van der Vaart, Roman Pavlyuchenko

Subs - Carlo Cudicini (gk), Jermain Defoe (61’), Sandro (71’), Niko Kranjcar (83’), Jermaine Jenas, Younes Kaboul, Sebastien Bassong

Real Madrid
Iker Casillas (gk) – Sergio Ramos (Granero 57’), Raul Albiol, Ricardo Carvalho, Alvaro Arbeloa – Xabi Alonso (Benzema 74’), Sami Khedira, Cristiano Ronaldo (Kaka 65’), Mesut Ozil, Marcelo – Emmanuel Adebayor

Subs - Antonio Adan (gk), Esteban Granero (57’), Kaka (65’), Karim Benzema (74’), Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequiel Garay, Angel Di Maria

 
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